Change And Maintain Tires on a Bus
All types of buses - from school busses to motorcoaches - typically carry valuable cargo, whether it's in the form of living passengers or vital inventory. This is precisely why it's important to maintain bus tires, in addition to changing them when necessary. Tire maintenance results in optimal vehicle control, resulting in the best safety possible for a bus driver and his/her passengers.
First things first, it's important to routinely maintain bus tires by recognizing the following:
Ensure Proper Inflation and Pressure
Tire inflation is one of the most important aspects of tire maintenance. It's also one of the easier things to check for. Using an accurate inflation pressure gauge, drivers should check their tires weekly during specific conditions. "Tire pressure should be checked while the tires are cold," says Scott McNamara, a trainer for Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions. "Do not bleed air from tires while they?re hot as this will result in under inflation. Operating on an improperly inflated tire will create severe tire damage."
If a bus's tires are not checked regularly for inflation and pressure, the damage can result in irregular tread wear, degraded durability and shorter tread life, in addition to decreased fuel efficiency due to a bus having to work harder with less stable tires.
Pay Attention to a Bus's Axle Alignment
It's important to check a bus's axle alignment during each tire change, especially if the tires recently came in contact with a curb, which has the potential to knock the axles out of sync. To check for alignment, ensure that the axles are perpendicular to the chassis' centerline; this ensures that the bus drives straight.
For axle alignment and tire change frequency, keep the severity of weather in your locale in mind, too. "Technicians should establish a minimum tread depth allowed before tires are changed," adds Timothy Miller, senior marketing specialist for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. "This could vary from location to location. Buses in northern Michigan might require deeper tread depths to travel in snow and slush, but buses in Miami might be able to run until the tread is down to 4/32nds without any problems."
There are some variations in the process of how to change a bus tire depending on the bus and tire type, but for the most part the process is universal. Using an impact gun or appropriately sized tire iron, break the tire's lug nuts free. You can purchase parts for buses online or at local auto stores if you don't have the correct tools. Then, use a floor or garage jack to lift the bus up. Once the bus is in this position, remove the lug nuts entirely. Grab the new tire, place it on the bus and put the lug nuts back on, using a star-like pattern as you tighten. A tire iron or impact gun can be used to snug the lug nuts tightly.
Knowing how to change and maintain a bus's tires is essential for its optimal operation and general safety. As frequent carriers of valuable cargo, all sorts of buses - from motorcoaches to school busses - must maintain and change their tires on a regular basis.